Resident Management Companies.
We prepare accurate estimated service charge budgets, to ensure that following the end of the financial year there will be no sudden surprises for the flat owners.
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Specialists with 50 years combined industry experience.
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Urbanlife are an independent residential block and estate managing agent in Essex, London and the South East with a single focus of servicing the needs of our Clients. This is our core business and the team pride themselves on providing an unrivalled service to our customers.
Communication in any relationship is the key to success. Transparency provides the confidence your home is being managed in a professional way. As property people we care and efficient practices ensure high levels of maintenance are delivered.
We manage your property giving you peace of mind your investment is in safe hands.
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Following the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower, we wanted to offer our residents and Landlords some reassurance, general guidance and answers to some frequent questions asked since the tragedy.
What do we know?
On the 14th June 2017 in the early hours of the morning a fire broke out at Grenfell Tower. The fire accelerated at an unprecedented rate on the exterior, spreading through the interior of the building, sadly resulting in several fatalities and casualties.
The how and why this tragedy happened continues to be investigated.
Despite speculation, until it is clear what allowed the fire to spread, there is no way of knowing what needs to change to prevent such a disaster happening again. Until such a time please do remember that fires do occur in flats all too often, but take comfort in that they seldom end in such a tragedy. If you live in a flat, please do not panic. None of the Blocks that Urbanlife look after have the external cladding, ‘suspected’ to be a primary factor in the Grenfell tragedy.
What is the risk of fires with multiple fatalities in flats?
There are many established fire safety and building standards which have improved safety and lowered the risk of fires resulting in fatalities. A building such as Grenfell Tower would have been expected to contain such a fire within the unit in which it started.
Fires within flats regrettably occur more often than most would assume, but are generally contained long enough to be extinguished leaving the rest of the block untouched. It is very rare in the UK for there to be fires resulting in multiple fatalities in any type of building.
Why are there no fire extinguishers in my block?
There is absolutely no expectation that residents should ever attempt to fight a fire and it is neither viable nor practical to provide training to residents to do so.
As a resident, you may choose to purchase portable firefighting equipment such as a fire blanket or a multipurpose fire extinguisher for personal use within your home, however, general guidance recommends that only those people who have received suitable training should attempt to use portable firefighting equipment. If you do own or wish to purchase portable firefighting equipment, you should read the instructions provided, before use.
Why are people advised to ‘stay put’ in a fire?
The fire safety of the occupants in blocks of flats hinges on the fire-resistant construction of the flats. This means that every unit (flat) has fire-resistant, ceilings, walls and floors to separate it from the units to the side, above, or below. The common areas and corridors within the block are also protected by fire-resistant walls to help ensure the occupants of the building are able to escape safely.
This is the basis of a ‘stay put’ policy, which basically means that any people in the flat where the fire broke out can evacuate the area, but their neighbours shouldn’t need to, as they will be safe enough where they are until the fire is extinguished. By ensuring that the occupants of the neighbouring flats are safely contained within their properties, the firefighters can do their job without concern for other people in the block.
Why is there no communal fire alarm in my block?
Wherever a block of flats or a residential building operates a ‘stay put’ policy, having a communal fire alarm system fitted may cause confusion and would go against the ethos of the ‘stay put’ procedure.
We have put together some guidance for both those whom live in flats and buy to let investors whom are responsible for the safety within the properties: –
Guidance for flat residents
- Check that you have working smoke alarms and test them regularly
- Make sure you and your household are familiar with your building and know the nearest Fire Exit. (The best route is normally the way in and out but have a Plan B in case this exit is blocked)
- Have an escape plan and practice this with all members of your household.
- Keep communal areas and balconies clear so that they don’t block your escape and/ or cause a fire risk.
- If you are a smoker, do not smoke in common areas of the block. Always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely.
- Always keep door and window keys easily accessible.
- If your flat is affected by fire or smoke and your escape route is clear: Get everyone out, close the door and leave the building calmly.
- Call 999 as soon as you are all safe, give them your address details and let them know which floor the fire is on.
- Do not use a lift in the event of a fire.
If your escape route is not clear:
- It may be safer to stay in your home until the Fire Brigade arrives.
- Find a safe room, close the door and block any gaps with soft materials to prevent the smoke from entering.
- Go to a window and shout “HELP FIRE” and call 999.
- Be ready to explain where you are and the quickest way to reach you.
If there is a fire in another part of the building:
- Your home should give you some protection from fire – walls, floors and doors can hold back flames and smoke for between 30 and 60 minutes.
- You are usually safer staying in your home. Therefore, call 999, tell the Fire Brigade where you are and the best way to reach you; However, if you feel unsure, unsafe, can see flames or smell smoke then leave your flat and exit the building as soon as possible.
- If you are in the communal parts of the building leave and call 999.
- If you live in a house or building that has been converted into flats, these do not have the same fire engineered characteristics as purpose-built flats or maisonettes. Speak to your landlord about escape routes.
Guidance for Landlords
- If you are a ‘responsible person’ you have a legal duty to keep your property safe from fire through the provisions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. If you are not sure if you are a ‘responsible person’ seek professional guidance, failure to protect those you have duty of care over can be very serious.
- You are obliged to ensure there is a comprehensive fire risk assessment that details the fire safety provisions that are in the property.
- You should have an emergency escape plan. This provides advice about the action residents will need to take, in the event of a fire. This plan must ensure residents and others remain safe, that a fire can be detected and residents are warned in the event of a fire. They should be able to safely escape from the fire using the structural protection provided within the property.
- You also have a responsibility to inform your tenants about the evacuation measures and the safe behaviours expected for your property.
- Ensure stored items do not block escape routes and fire doors are not restricted or propped open
- Ensure your risk assessments are valid and the actions managed
- Ensure flat entrance doors are adequately fire rated
- Ensure any fire related equipment on site is serviced and maintained
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION OR CONCERNS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US.
The information within this article was kindly prepared by 4Site Consulting Ltd. Health & Safety and Fire Risk experts in the property industry.
MY NAME’S NOT JACK!
It was my Grandad’s though and unlike the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none’, he was in fact a Master Carpenter for over 50 years. We aren’t here to talk about my Grandad though!
Ironically, I’m sure you have all heard it and know the meaning as an unfortunate and derogatory phrase, used to describe a multi-skilled person with mediocre talent in each. The actual origin goes back to when Jack was used as a generic name for any general representative of the common people its use dates back as far as the 14th century…
We can’t be masters of everything we need to or indeed know everything either. That’s when we need my Grandad ‘Jack’ a master of his trade.
‘We’ are experts in Leasehold and Freehold Property! As developers I’m sure you are experts in planning amazing developments and pouring foundations BUT do you know how much the Freeholds you create could be worth and what they would sell for in the current market or what revenue you could generate from them? We do!
– Could you write a bomb proof lease that adds value to your leaseholds and protects both yourself and your tenants from issues in the future? You guessed it! We can!
– Could you actively manage a site once you sell your final unit and simultaneously adhere to all current legislation and Industry guidelines? Uh huh! We got that covered too!
– Would you know whether you would get best price if you RPI linked your ground rents or used a doubling model? That’s right, you guessed it we have you covered there too!
We pride ourselves on being able to support and advise Developers and Builders of all sizes – Get in touch and see how we can help you get more money from your existing and upcoming developments. We really can make your life easier so you can focus on your mastery of being a developer!
WE HAVE ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATION
Following this years’ continuing success, we are very pleased to announce Urbanlife Property Management is now formally regulated and accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
THE ACCREDITATION WAS A ‘MUST-HAVE’ FOR US!
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor’s is ‘the mark of property professionalism worldwide’ and we made no compromise in making it our priority to be accredited by them. The Institute is indeed known worldwide but even more so in its UK home – Our ethos of to ‘support, inform and empower’ now carries ever more weight with our commitment to continue following the RICS code of conduct now as a regulated company.
MORE THAN A BADGE
We pride ourselves on understanding and following industry standards and guidelines. To be formally accredited so soon is a testament to our team’s ability and professionalism as well as their understanding of our industry and its regulations. The RICS seal is a visual reminder to our customers that we are the very best at what we do.
Thank you RICS!
What our clients say…
Following our experience with a number of previous managing agents, we have been delighted with how Urbanlife have grasped the estate with both hands and turned it around. We were carrying a huge amount of arrears and Urbanlife have managed to recover these arrears after the previous agents failed to do so, after many un-kept promises. I would strongly recommend Urbanlife to anyone considering them
After a lack of attention from our previous managing agent, we wanted an agent who would give us the service we required rather than be another number in a large portfolio managed by an overworked Property Manager. We feel Urbanlife has given us a personal touch and nothing ever seems to be a problem.
Director, N1, London
We are very happy with Urbanlife who have managed Blade and Omega Courts for the last two years. They very likely saved us from bankruptcy due to previous managements poor handling. The estates have an improved appearance which aids both rental and resale values. The directors are friendly and approachable. I would highly recommend Urbanlife.